Charapacocha Native Community, Peru
In the Charapacocha Native Community, home to members of the Candoshi tribe, the water crisis was a daily threat. In order to collect water the residents had to walk down steep banks and wade into the dangerous currents of the river. The water that was collected was full of germs and was used for drinking, chores and cooking. The unsafe water used at the school perpetuated cycles of illness that caused students to miss time in the classroom.
Robinson Yandari Akumbari, a 45-year-old teacher shared about his experience with the water crisis. He said, “All my students and I collected water from the river for our daily use and to drink. There is a food program to feed the children in the mornings, but the water we used before came from the river. Students always came to class late because they needed to collect water, and I was always afraid of them drowning. Once, a child came to class and, although he was very thin, he had a very swollen belly. I knew he had parasites and advised his parents to bring him to the health post. They gave him de-worming medicine. But as a soon as the pills ran out, he contracted the parasite again and even began vomiting. I knew it was from drinking unsafe water. I knew that to solve this problem, we needed not just medicines but safe water.”
Our team met with leaders in the community to gauge the need for a safe water well. The community leaders shared their stories and learned about how a new safe water system would change their lives. The community school was an ideal location for a new well!
Staff from our team soon returned to construct the new well. Since the community was only accessible by river, the staff brought manual drilling equipment via boat. They worked hard to drill a borehole until they reached a safe aquifer 30 meters deep. They flushed the borehole free of debris and installed a PVC pipe and sanitary seal. Next, they treated the well with a shock chlorination treatment and tested the water to ensure it was safe to drink. Once they assembled the well mechanism and poured the concrete platform, the project was complete.
The team also helped the community members form a water committee to oversee the care and maintenance of the well. The committee will collect voluntary fees from the households in order to save a fund to cover the cost of well repairs. Furthermore, committee members will remain in contact with our team about the functionality of the well.
Sanitation and hygiene promotion activities were held for the school and many other members of the community. They explained the nature of germ spread and the importance of handwashing. The participants learned to wash their hands using a simple, handmade device called a “tippy tap,” which can easily be replicated with available materials.
The staff also led the participants in a community mapping activity where they identified areas in their community with strong sanitation and hygiene practices as well as areas that need improvement. This encouraged the community members to take ownership for the improvement of conditions in their community and compelled them to develop community driven solutions.
Robinson expressed how the well impacts his community. He said, “The new water source will change my students’ lives, since the food that we prepare will be better and safer. They will have a better performance in class since [their time is not spent collecting water in the river] and will not miss school [due to waterborne illness]. Safe water is essential anywhere in the world. I am very grateful that we have it.”
|Exact Coordinates:||Latitude: -4.290611 | Longitude: -76.695278|
|Previous Water Source:||River|
|Main Water Collectors:||Students|
|Pump Type:||Hand pump|
|Depth of Well:||30 m|